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Home   News   Félix topples top-seeded Tsitsipas to reach Queen’s Club semi-finals

Félix topples top-seeded Tsitsipas to reach Queen’s Club semi-finals

Jun 21, 2019
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

We nearly had another Clash of Canadians in a semi-final for a second week in a row.

Félix Auger-Aliassime did his part to set up the matchup that we didn’t get to see last week. The No.8-seeded Canadian started Friday by taking down the top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals at Queen’s Club. But Milos Raonic failed to join him, when he fell to Feliciano Lopez in heartbreaking fashion 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(5).

This all took place just a six days after Raonic was forced to withdraw prior to his showdown with Auger-Aliassime in the Mercedes Cup semis in Stuttgart.

The 18 year old from Montreal started the day off by making a little history. Already the youngest quarter-finalist at this event since Marin Cilic (18) in 2007, Félix became the youngest player to reach the semis since an 18-year-old Lleyton Hewitt did it in 1999.

In order to attain the feat, Auger-Aliassime had to get past a familiar foe in Tsitsipas.

In the opening set, the Canadian teenager continued his dominance on serve. Despite six double faults, Félix still managed to win 21 of his 25 first-serve points to help him hold serve. Then, with a chance to score a break and win the set, a powerful forehand from the Canadian went unreturned by the World No. 6 – giving Auger-Aliassime the early lead.

In the second set, an unforced error by the top-seeded Greek secured the Montrealer a second straight break point to put him in front 2-0. Then, despite needing a medical timeout for his shoulder at 3-0, Tsitsipas did everything he could to try and rally from behind. Forced to save five break points in the second set, Auger-Aliassime managed to hold serve the rest of the way and earn his third break point of the match to close it out.

Playing in just the second professional grass-court tournament of his career, Félix is now 7-1 on this surface in 2019. His latest victory means Auger-Aliassime has now won the only two professional meetings that he and Tsitsipas have shared. Previously the two met in the second round of this year’s BNP Paribas Open, where Félix defeated the Greek in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

After their latest showdown on Friday, Tsitsipas had some high praise for Auger-Aliassime.

Félix will be hoping to reach his fourth final of the season. To do so, he’ll need to beat Feliciano Lopez. Saturday’s semi-final between the Canadian and the Spaniard will be the first time the two have ever faced each other.

If Auger-Aliassime were to reach the final or win the title at Queen’s Club, he would become the second-youngest player in the Open Era to do so. That record is held by Boris Becker who achieved the feat during his 1985 title run at the age of 17.

Milos narrowly loses to Lopez in Queen’s Club QF

Photo: Mike Frey/TPN

After Auger-Aliassime and Tsitsipas cleared Centre Court, it was time for the 28 year old from Thornhill to go to work against the 2017 Queen’s Club champion.

Raonic got off to a great start in the opening set. Leading 5-4, Milos hit a great lob shot to give himself a break point and set point opportunity that Lopez wound up gifting him – thanks to a double fault on the very next point. Raonic also tallied eight aces and won 14 of his 16 first-serve points in the first set.

But in the second set, the Spaniard would find his rhythm. In the opening game, facing break point, Raonic sent a forehand into the net to give his counterpart a 1-0 lead. Lopez would then hold serve the rest of the way, forcing a third and decisive set with one of his two aces in the second set.

Once there, after both players held serve to force a tiebreak, Raonic gave up a mini-break after his volley sailed long – giving the 2017 champ a 5-4 lead and a chance to serve out the match. Milos would manage to fight off one match point, before Lopez scored a final mini-break to win the match.

Raonic’s loss on Friday marks his first defeat on grass in 2019. He came into this quarter-final tilt having won five straight grass-court matches this season, with the exception of his walk-over against Félix in the Mercedes Cup semi-finals.

(Photo: Mike Frey/TPN)